Buller Gorge Swingbridge
The 1929 Buller Earthquake
During the days that lead up to 17th June 1929, colossal pressure built up on the many faultlines that run like veins through the north-west Nelson region. Somewhere along that system, at 10.17 am, the strata finally gave way, taking the stress along other faults to snapping point.The result was an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, felt nearly all over New Zealand and causing massive devastation through Nelson and the West Coast. Although the event has been best known since as the Murchison earthquake, there were also epicentres well to the east, west and north.
The most dramatic example of the earth's movement was seen along the White Creek Fault. On the eastern side of the fault, the earth was thrust 4.5 metres upward, the surface sign of a deep-seated rock fracture. As you walk through Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage park you can walk alongside and view the displacement. Across from White Creek, the upthrust formed an impassable barrier to motorists. Reforming the road around this and many other quake-formed obstacles took several months.
The White Creek Upthrust caused by the earthquake